Yesterday, the people of a village called Mahanala of Ganjam district of Orissa walked up a steep hill nearby which is supposed to be the abode of Rishi Shringi.
The purpose of the trek was to appease him so that he would bless them with good rainfall.
Shringi rishi is associated with bringing rainfall.
The Sage by name Rushya shringa who conducted the Putra- Kameshti yaaga for King Dasharatha that resulted in the birth of Rama was known to bring rainfall wherever he went.
The description about this sage and his ways are similar to the legendary Unicorn. He was lured by the king Romapada of Anga desa (who was a close friend of King Dasharatha) to enter his kingdom which was reeling under severe drought. When he stepped into his country, it rained. The details of this has been written in an earlier post
What intrigues me is that this Rishi is usually associated with places in the
There is a temple dedicated to this Rishi in Kullu in Himachal Pradesh.
The Shringi temple in Kullu
According to the news report from Orissa, his abode seems to be associated with Orissa.
I think this place must have been the original one.
I say this by connecting the episode on this Rishi with Anga desa.
In Varahamihira’s Kurma charka, Anga desa is mentioned as being located in the South eastern direction of the Madhya desa. (The Madhya desa was located around the river Yamuna in the axis that joined Lanka and
Anga desa in all probability was Banga or Vanga desa (
The hill in the Ganjam district where Rushya shringa lived was close enough to Anga desa, for him to move to the city of
The names of rivers such as Rushikulya and Vamsadhara in Ganjam district – coming down from hill ranges, make me think that some great Past history traced to Ramayana times is hidden in this place. The river Rushikulya starts from the hill called Rushya malya in Kandhamal near Ganjam district where the river joins the sea. The ‘Rishi’ in these names seem curious enough to lend some connection to Rushya shringa.
The existing story about this river:-
Mountain Rishimal is the place of origin of river Rushikulya. It originates in the area of Aska village, which is now the district headquarters of Bahrumpur Ganjam district. It is believed that, pleased with the austerities of rishis,
(Courtesy:- http://www.tapasvibaba.org/page20.html )
Some questions in this regard:-
- Unicorns were unique for this land. Is there a tradition that sighting them will bring rainfall?
- The images of unicorns had been found embossed in the seals of Saraswathy- Harappan excavations. Any connection to them with rainfall or bounty harvest as a result?
- Have any excavations done or findings unearthed from this hill in Mahanala or in the Rushikulya river bed or in Rishimalya mountains?
- If some tradition with Unicorn-connection is found in this hill, would it mean that the Saraswad civilization was widespread and not localized around Saraswathy river – giving it an all
(Bharat) character? India
People trek mountain to invoke rain god.
Over 40 people, including children, of Mahanala village in Ganjam district trekked to the hill-top, 350 ft above sea level, and performed rituals including chanting of hymns for about two hours yesterday.
"The people of our village have been following the practice on the auspicious day of lunar fortnight of"Bhadrab"to please the rain god," Shyamsundar Dora said, adding that with the prospect of a drought, farmers have now pinned their hopes on the rain god to bail them out.
"The situation is not too bad now, but if it does not rain in near future, it will worsen and the crop will wither away,” villagers said.
People from nearby rain-fed villages too have also joined in this unique ritual.
Besides, people in several villages in the district also practise"frog dance"or"frog marriage"to invoke the rain god. They dance to the tune of"changu", a musical instrument, holding pots full of frogs on their head.
Villagers trek for rain
RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY
Residents of a village in Orissa on Sunday night performed a unique ritual to invoke the blessing of the rain god.
Almost entire population of Mahanala village in south Orissa district of Ganjam, nearly 220 km from here, including the old, women and children trekked a 350ft height mountain in their locality and performed rituals at the hill-top to appease `Baruna', the rain god. They spent the whole night on the hill-top chanting hymns and shlokas and dancing to the beating of cymbals in praise of the rain god, reports reaching here on Monday said.
"The ritual is very risky and fraught with many dangers. It takes almost two hours to scale the steep mountain. We start our journey before sun rise and arrange for puja the whole day. The rituals are performed in the night only," said the local sarpanch Abinash Raul.
The practice is followed on the auspicious day of lunar fortnight of the Oriya calendar `Bhadrab', he added. "We believe that saint Rushi Srunga lives on the top of the hills. If we please him along with God Baruna, the area will receive plenty of rains for good harvest," Harihara Mahapatra, a priest in the local temple, told this newspaper over phone. The village, however, has no record to point to the time of origin of the ritual. Hundreds of people from surrounding villages gathered at the foot-hill to celebrate the occasion.